Does Art Therapy Provide Benefits to One's Health?

Brice Preston Brown
8 min readJan 19, 2021
Painting without restrictions. Photo by Alice Dietrich on Unsplash

Art therapy is considered by many to be an obscure form of therapy: this is evident by there only being 5000 licensed art therapists in the United States of America, according to Elka Torpey, an economist for the Bureau Labor of Statistics. Art therapists assist people in understanding their emotions in addition to finding a stable state of mind. Controversy surrounds whether there are actual benefits to be gained through this form of therapy often claiming there needs to be more research done; however, there have been numerous studies proving the effectiveness of art therapy in a multitude of ways and over varying demographics. There is also skepticism behind people claiming it won’t help them due to them not be an artist.

In deeming art therapy as truly beneficial towards personal health it must be acknowledged that according to Brian Parkinson, Ph.D. in Psychology, how people interact in society often is reflective of their mood and emotions. Therefore, if art therapy is able to help clients achieve a better state of mind and outlook on life, they could perform better in social interactions. According to Rebecca A. Wilkinson, an adjunct instructor at the George Washington University, and Gioia Chilton, a doctoral candidate in the Creative Arts Therapies Program at Drexel University, “Suggested research and practical applications illuminate the potential of positive art therapy to move individuals, groups, and communities beyond solely the relief of suffering to a state of flourishing.” This further backs up Brian Parkinson. If art therapy can provide beneficial elements to people with poor health, then in time they will be able to flourish. According to Diane Kearns, who has a masters in art therapy and counseling, “Results [of her study] indicated an increase in positive behaviors after art sessions as well as postponement of the first incidence of negative behaviors.” The study’s subject was a child, and as a result, the artwork he produced was more freeform, using more kinesthetic mediums such as clay and finger painting. Mediums that were tailored for his personality lead to positive behavioral habits and fewer negative incidences, ergo improved social performance. In a different environment and with different students, similar effects could be found. According to Karen Triesman, a clinical psychologist who has a Ph.D. in…

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Brice Preston Brown
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Hello! Be happy and take a moment to think about life.